Saturday, April 15, 2017

Will The DCCC Finally Take On Ileana Ros-Lehtinen In Her Bright Blue Miami District?


Before she was exposed as the corrupt and poisonous hack she's always been, Debbie Wasserman Schultz reigned supreme among South Florida Democrats. She has been able to protect her Republican cronies, particularly Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for cycle after cycle after cycle. But this days are gone. Now Wasserman Schultz will have to use all her energy and clout to protect herself from another primary challenge. Once going up against Ros Lehtinen was considered a death sentence inside the Wasserman-Schultz-controlled Democratic Party. Now people spit in Wasserman Schultz's face on the way to the microphone announcing they're running in the Miami district Ros-Lehtinen still represents.

This was the most anti-Trump Republican-held congressional district in the country. And it's been trending blue for years, something Wasserman Schultz has successfully covered up and prevented either the Democratic Party of Florida, the DNC or the DCCC from ever "noticing." In 2008, FL-27 gave McCain a 51-49% margin over Obama. By 2012, that had flipped to a 53-47% win for Obama. Last November-- very predictably-- Hillary stomped on Trump 58.6% to 38.9%, Trump's worst performance in a district with a Republican member of Congress. Even in Florida, Trump did better in several Democratic districts. But, once again-- thanks to Wasserman Schultz and her Democratic allies in DC-- Ros-Lehtinen didn't have to fight off a serious challenge. She beat an unelectable, wealthy Patrick Murphy-style quasi-Democrat 157,763 (54.9%) to 129,548 (45.1%). Scott Fuhrman funded his own campaign to the tune of $843,189 and spent a total of $887,550 against Ros-Lehtinen's $3,410,165. Neither the DCCC, the Florida Democratic Party nor the DNC lifted a hand to help him. People still weren't sure if Wasserman Schultz could bite a hand off. But her exposure as across who worked to throw the presidential primary to Hillary-- which ultimately resulted in Trump winning the White House-- and her own vulnerability in barely surviving a primary from first-time candidate Tim Canova, a Bernie backer-- she cheated flagrantly and still only managed to win 28,279 (56.8%) to 21,504 (43.2%)-- has left her weakened and almost universally despised. Hopefully Canova will end her disgraceful, moribund career in 2018.

Fuhrman is running again but Miami is buzzing this week with a serious candidate, Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, jumping in against Ros-Lehtinen. Gonzalez, a single mother of three and a a Miami Dade College professor is in her first term as a City Commissioner. In declaring she contrasted herself with Ros-Lehtinen: "We deserve a member of congress who will hold President Trump accountable. Instead of the President’s lapdog, I’ll be a watchdog who stands up for science against climate change deniers, stands up for immigrants against persecution, and fights back against partisan attacks on women’s health care."

Political Cortadito reported yesterday that "Rosen Gonzalez has already met with members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has probably talked to a couple of different people (though the blue bench is not too deep). Other names that have come up for this seat are Jose Javier Rodriguez-- but he just moved to the Florida Senate from the House so another jump so soon would not look too good-- and State Rep. Daisy Baez, but she was just elected so she’s even more of a freshman." Local businessman Michael Hepburn is also seeking the Democratic nomination. I'll look into Hepburn and try to find out more about Rosen Gonzalez, who my Miami friends tell me is just a garden variety Democrat and not worth bothering with. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: An Endorsement

Brand New Congress just endorsed Michael Hepburn. A Bahamian-American, Hepburn is a Miami native, a member of the Miami Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and serves on the Allapattah Neighborhood Association and the Miami Dade Democratic Executive Committee. He works as a senior academic advisor for the School of Business at the University of Miami.

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